Community Spotlights

Highlights from Youth Football Day at FDR Park

by Fairmount Park Conservancy on April 20, 2023

On Saturday, April 15, we kicked off our first-ever Youth Football Day at FDR Park! Families, football teams, coaches, and friends came out to celebrate play, community, and future plans to bring high-quality recreational areas to FDR Park with a day of football activities, kayaking, music, food, a visit from the Philadelphia Eagles, and fun giveaways.

“One of the best things about the FDR Park Plan is that we’re going to get much-needed high quality youth sports facilities embedded in 200 acres of fantastic natural areas,” said Maura McCarthy, Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Chief Executive Officer. “That means that for the first time, you can finish playing your game, finish practicing, and stroll into 10 miles of nature trails, fish on the restored Shedbrook Creek, or go kayaking in the lake.”

Fairmount Park Conservancy was joined by Mayor Jim Kenney, Representative Regina Young, Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, Friends of FDR President Barb Capozzi, and Anthony Meadows of the South Philly Sigma Sharks for a brief speaking program to highlight the importance of uplifting the city’s youth football community.

“Right now, there is just one regulation-sized performance turf Parks & Rec football field in South Philadelphia,” said Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “Every one of the coaches here today has struggled to find places to practice and to host games in our city. The lack of regulation-sized, high quality fields are preventing you all from doing what you do best, which is developing young people into future leaders on and off the field.”

The FDR Park Plan offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the historic 348-acre park, which currently suffers from frequent flooding. By transforming the park’s topography, the 209-acre Ecological Core will address the flooding issues, increase the park’s capacity to manage water, and expand the natural areas in the park to include more meadows, wetlands, trails, and water access points. Thanks to the Ecological Core at the center of the park, recreational areas along the perimeter can be elevated up out of the floodplain in key areas to allow for investments in 12 high quality multi-purpose fields, as well as baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

Anthony Meadows, President of the South Philly Sigma Sharks, stressed how important these new fields will be. “The improvements that are going to be done to this park are amazing, and they are outstanding for the kids. This opportunity is a great opportunity because it’s going to help all of these kids stay actively engaged and out of trouble. This is keeping kids focused, keeping kids engaged, and keeping kids’ futures bright.”

Click here to learn more about the FDR Park Plan.

Photography by Albert Yee.